When You Close That Door On Your Own.

Two months ago, I announced that I was leaving my job as a freelance videographer/photographer. If you didn't know, now you do. For more info on that, you can read the post here.

 "When God closes one door, He opens another." 

There are probably 30,000 variations of this cliché above. One thing is for sure, I'm guilty of saying it. And you and I are very guilty of using it as a poor excuse for advice when talking to someone about their uncertain future.

My reason for bringing this up is not to have a discussion about Christianese, but to share something I learned about my own life regarding this cliché. 

When I was fourteen, I had the life-changing opportunity to lead worship for youth group. I haven't stopped since. Soon after, I realized that I was wired for this. I'm proud to say that I have been leading worship for almost 10 years now. 

Throughout the past ten years, God has blessed me with more opportunities than I can keep track of. I have loved every bit of it. However, the past year and a half has been the complete opposite. Throughout high school and college I dreamed of being a worship pastor, but ever since I graduated, I completely turned away from that dream. Why? I think there were a lot of reasons why, but until recently, I did not know I overlooked something deep in my heart.

I was terrified at the thought of shepherding a church family. I was scared of the thought of discipling people. I was scared to let more people into my life. I was horrified of vocational ministry. Thankfully, God has used the past two years to heal, redeem, and restore my heart and mind. Which brings me to now. Recently, I discovered something mind-blowing. I kept telling myself that God closed that door. That the dream I had for 8 years of my life was done. But:

God actually did not close the door. I closed it.
How so? Simple. I decided to become best friends with a guy named Fear. 
And when God removed Fear from my life, He opened that door again.

The point I am trying to make is this: 

As I keep walking on this journey of life, I find out more and more that God really meant it when He said that He was working out all things for the good (Rom. 8:28). I don't know if I wasted two years of my life doing videography and photography. But if I did, He was and He is working it out for the good and according to His purpose. I learned so much about myself. I faced a lot of things I did not want to face. God sustained me. But if I spent all my time and energy scrutinizing and regretting my decisions over the past two years, it is then I'm really wasting my time. 

This is the beauty of God and His grace. He gives us grace to move on. He gives us grace to let go. He gives us grace to succeed. He gives us grace to live. For me, He gave me grace to give me another shot at a dream I shut the door to a long time ago.

2014 was here, but now 2015 is. For those of you who have read this far, thanks. Keep reading.

This year, I beg of you to let God guide you in every step. You can make plans, but He establishes your steps. I beg of you to not let the future steal your joy away. I beg of you to spend more time in God's presence and His word. I beg of you to spend more energy on becoming who God has made you to be, rather than what you are going to be doing in the next five years. I beg of you to stare Fear straight in the face and tell him that you are done. I beg of you to let God heal the deepest pains and hurts in your heart. I beg of you to learn to love well. This year, I dare you to live.


As for my big announcements...here you go!

Announcement #1 || In October, I was contacted by an old friend who has been prepping to plant a church in Marietta. To spare you of the long details, I was offered an opportunity to be the worship pastor at this church plant. After a month or so of praying and consideration, I accepted the job offer. For some of you who don't know, I love to lead worship. It's been a passion of mine for a long time, but I believe I've turned away from that dream a couple of years ago. I guess God had other plans. So, I am proud to say that I am now the worship pastor of Grace Mosaic in Marietta, GA. Our first gathering is January 4 at 5pm at 534 Roselane St, Marietta, GA.

Announcement #2 || For quite some time now, I have been writing and writing and writing. I've been wanting to release an EP for a long time now, and I am pleased to announce that in the next month or two, I will be launching a campaign to help raise support to do that. So please look out for that! 

Thank you so much for your support and encouragement (seriously, every single one of you). I have full confidence that 2015 will be a year I will not forget. 

And for those of you who are weary of a new year, stop. Prepare yourself. Fight against your fears. Chase your dreams. Challenge yourself. Become who God wants you to be.

Here's to the new year. 

Leaving When It's Good.

Almost two years ago my love for videography and storytelling began to grow. I had an incredible internship with a church I loved to close out my senior year of college. Right after graduating, I chose to pursue freelance work instead of finding a "real job."

Since then my business has grown and jobs have been through the roof. People are starting to hear about my work. It's amazing. Everything was 'safe and secure'.

If there is anything I've learned in my ten-ish years of walking with Jesus, it's that our plans and predictions must be similar to the characteristics of clay. When we embody the same flexibility, we make less room for us, and more room for Jesus to mold us, to shape us, and to lead us.

God's word says it even better.

  • "The heart of man plans his way, but the Lord establishes his steps." -Proverbs 16:9 (ESV)
  • "But now, O Lord, you are our Father; we are the clay, and you are our potter; we are all the work of your hand." -Isaiah 64:8 (ESV)

This past summer, I was shooting weddings left and right. I was editing weddings left and right. I was making coffee left and right. I began to make efforts to move forward with my music. A lot of great things happened. If you were observing my life from the outside, it probably looked pretty spectacular. I had it good.

I was making decent money. I got to travel a good bit. I was around great people all the time. I released a single. My latte art was becoming half-decent (haha). With everything I did, I was working an average of 70-85 hours a week. I don't want you to think that I'm complaining, because I'm not. What I'm saying is that I knew it was unhealthy.

The point I'm trying to make is this. I thought I was trekking through the land of everything certain. Instead, I was drowning in a sea of uncertainty. To save you from a long story, I will sum it up for you. 

One Sunday night at church, I was asking God about this uncertainty I was feeling. As I pleaded for an answer I felt like I heard five words specifically. 

It's time to move on. 

At the time, I didn't know what that meant. Then I knew exactly what He meant. It's time to move on from videography. Like any other average human, I pitched a fit. 

"Wait a minute God. You're meaning to tell me that I should stop doing videography? You're telling me that I should step away from my main source of income? Why now? Why not three or five years down the road like I thought it would be? It's terrible timing. What will it look like? How will I make a living? I'm just now getting better at what I do and people are starting to hear about me. I'm making more money. It's becoming more secure. You want me to leave when it's good?"

His response?

"Yes. Now come. Stop asking questions and just let me show you." Translation: trust me.

Of course.
Of course He would call me out of something comfortable.
Of course He would call me out of security.
Of course He would call me out of safety.

And then I am reminded that my definition of security and safety is way different than His.

While I am still in the middle of the process, I have already learned a lot. 

  1. I am way too good at settling. When we settle for what gets us by, for something that makes us comfortable, it can easily become our security and safety. It can become our hope and our foundation. The danger isn't a job, a title, or a purpose. It's when we let something on earth take the title of something God already is in our lives. 
  2. I am way too good at worrying. Seriously. I'm really good at it. If my bank account is looking a little slim or I lose a client, I freak out. If things don't go as I plan, I start trying to fix it myself. The danger isn't the small bumps in the road. It's when we let fear and anxiety win our hearts. It's when we choose not to trust.
  3. I am way too good at busy. In fact, it could be my middle name. If you are like me, you know exactly what this means. I've spent countless hours shooting, editing, working, doing. Many of my friends keep calling me out to rest. I always think that keeping busy will keep me happy. Tell you what friends, that is garbage. It's actually kept me isolated, far from community, and bitter inside. The danger isn't doing things that make a difference. It's when we let what we do become who we are. 

With all this said, I wanted to take a minute to officially say that after November, I am done with videography and photography (professionally). It will definitely still be a small part of my life, a small creative outlet if you will, but it will no longer be part of my "job title".

I do not want to settle for what is good enough. I do want to settle for what is best.
I do not want to partner with fear. I do want to partner with faith.
I do not want to become what I do. I do want to be who I am.

I'm sure the next thing you would expect to hear is where I am going. However, I do not think I have a received a clear picture of that. I think music will be a part of that picture (stay tuned). The only thing I am certain of is this: I'm saying yes to Jesus, and never once has that failed me. 

Don't Let Fear Win | #ComingAroundForMe

Hello beautiful people!

I just wanted to say one thing: TODAY IS THE DAY. My new single, Coming Around For Me is officially available on iTunes! Thank you to everyone who has supported me in this journey. This is just the beginning. Keep your eye out for more. While this is great news, what I would love even more is this:

1) Buy & download the new single on iTunes. Leave a review! Here's the link: http://bit.ly/1qV9InG

2) Share it. Download the cover art (click here) , share it on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, and any other place on the Internets. In your captions, updates, and statuses, please post:

" Don't let fear win. New single by (tag me) now available on iTunes. http://bit.ly/1qV9InG #ComingAroundForMe "

Or even better, use your own words! Be sure to include the photo and hashtag!

3) Listen. Enjoy. Keep an eye out for more to come.

SPECIAL THANKS TO:

  • Jonathan Jay & Josh Stewart for working their tails off to help me create something beautiful
  • Sterling Graves, for the incredible photos he has contributed to this project.
  • Adam Bowen (bass) and Hunter Harrison (guitar) for tracking on the song. You guys are unbelievably talented and generous.

New Single. New Shows. New Website. A lot of New.

BIG NEWS.

After a two year journey of fighting fear and doubt, getting over myself and insecurities, and much more, I am proud to say that I am finally taking a step forward into music.

Without wasting any time, I wanted to give you all the official announcement that I will be releasing a new single, Coming Around For Me, on August 5, 2014. It has been really hard for me to not share all this over the past few months, but the time has come! The song will be available on iTunes, Amazon, and other online stores.

I am also pleased to announce that I will be playing some shows to celebrate the release, the first one being today! My barista home, Taproom Coffee, will be hosting a small latte art competition tonight at 7pm. Immediately after the latte madness, I will be sharing some stories and songs with all of you beautiful people. Everyone who comes will be able to hear the new single live! (thank you to coffeeatl.com for announcing this and sharing on your site–click here to see their post). 

Next week on August 4, I will be playing a small acoustic show with my good friends, Paper Lights, as they make a quick stop back to Atlanta. The show will be at the lovely Chattahoochee Coffee Company at 7pm.

The last thing I would like to announce is the launch of my new website, freddycastro.com, which will be dedicated to all my music. Here, you'll get a glimpse into my new journey in music. Don't worry, ReadySetFreddy.com is still a thing. This will be the place to get updates and a closer look into my life. 

Thank you to everyone who has supported me throughout this crazy time. Thank you for loving me in my best and in my worst.